How to format your references using the Constraints citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Constraints. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Elliott, T. (2002). Geophysics. Caught offside. Science (New York, N.Y.), 295(5552), 55–57.
A journal article with 2 authors
McNeill, J. R., & Winiwarter, V. (2004). Breaking the sod: humankind, history, and soil. Science (New York, N.Y.), 304(5677), 1627–1629.
A journal article with 3 authors
Storch, N. I., Anderson, K. R., & Lai, D. (2014). Chaotic dynamics of stellar spin in binaries and the production of misaligned hot Jupiters. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6202), 1317–1321.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Blilou, I., Xu, J., Wildwater, M., Willemsen, V., Paponov, I., Friml, J., … Scheres, B. (2005). The PIN auxin efflux facilitator network controls growth and patterning in Arabidopsis roots. Nature, 433(7021), 39–44.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Abu-Jamous, B., Fa, R., & Nandi, A. K. (2015). Integrative Cluster Analysis in Bioinformatics. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Bunt, H., Bos, J., & Pulman, S. (Eds.). (2014). Computing Meaning: Volume 4 (Vol. 47). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Linz, J. E., Wee, J. M., & Roze, L. V. (2014). Aflatoxin Biosynthesis: Regulation and Subcellular Localization. In J.-F. Martín, C. García-Estrada, & S. Zeilinger (Eds.), Biosynthesis and Molecular Genetics of Fungal Secondary Metabolites (pp. 89–110). New York, NY: Springer.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Constraints.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2014, October 28). Drone Captures Aerial Footage Of Whale Shark And Manta Ray Feeding Frenzy. IFLScience. IFLScience. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. (1982). Examination of the Social Security Administration’s Systems Modernization Plan (No. HRD-82-83). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Hilmey, D. G. (2006). Synthesis and Study of Heteroatomic Spirocyclic Scaffolds (Doctoral dissertation). Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Poniewozik, J. (2017, October 26). A Sequel Rings Familiar, But Keeps the Fun Intact. New York Times, p. C1.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1, 2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleConstraints
ISSN (print)1383-7133
ISSN (online)1572-9354
ScopeArtificial Intelligence
Computational Theory and Mathematics
Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics

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